Four hours had passed since they arrived at the Kappa Pi Epsilon party and the running tally was:
Kristopher: 2, Norah: 3, Mia: 2 and Patrice: 5
“Couldn’t we have just made it how many shots we could do in a night?” moaned Kristopher. “This is getting embarrassing.”
“You’d still be losing!” laughed Norah.
“Yeah but I’d never thought Patrice would be winning this. You and Mia maybe... not him! Where is Mia anyway?” he asked looking over all the heads of the party goers, but unable to see her around.
“I don’t know. I’ll see if I can find her. She’s been gone for ages.” Norah started to walk away in to the crowd, but she turned back warning her Austrian flatmate. “No cheating!” She wandered away again, this time sweeping her wavy blonde locks forward onto one side. Always keeping her head held high, she tried to make as much eye contact as possible with any unsuspecting victims.
Scouring the queues to the bathrooms and the people gathered at the drinks tables, she was still unable to spot Mia. I hope she’s not given up and went home,
she thought. Norah was just about to dig out her phone and send off a text when she saw Mia in the corner of her vision.
Mia was sitting on the stairs next to an attractive stranger. Her body language seemed comfortable and the guy she was chatting to appeared to be enjoying her company. Norah watched as the tanned boy with sun streaked blonde hair leaned in closer to Mia and held his face a few centimetres away from hers. Mia bridged the gap between the boy she had met only thirty minutes earlier. She let her lips graze over his for a few seconds before pulling away. Ca-ching – that’s my tally up to three now. In your face Kristopher! I’m not scrubbing that kitchen two weeks in a row!
Earlier that evening, the challenge was set for the four flatmates: the flatmate(s) to kiss the least number of people at the party was on cleaning duty. So now with her score up to three Kristopher remained at the bottom by himself.
Looking down the stairs to the landing below them, Mia could see Norah with a huge grin on her face. She said a few parting words and the lad took her phone number. He left with a promise to call and Mia stayed put with a smug smile on her face.
Norah walked up the stairs and sat down next to her then held her hand out to which Mia slapped hers against. “Well done my young Padawan. You have learned well,” Norah praised. Mia chuckled realising that her Sci-Fi geekyness was rubbing off on her flatmate.
“So..?” Norah asked expectantly.
“Does it merit details? I don’t go asking you about the boys you kissed tonight.” Norah’s probing look was still unfaltering so Mia caved. “Three. He was number three. His name is Scott and I like the resemblance he has to Taylor Hawkins. He wasn’t a bad kisser either. At least he didn’t stick his tongue down my throat like the last one or suffocate me like the first one.”
“Well congratulations on a half decent kiss then. Are you having fun?”
“Yeah I am actually. I thought that I would go in a mood and get frustrated if I didn’t kiss anybody. But there was no way I was cleaning that kitchen after Kristopher exploded that disgusting soup all over the stove!”
“Well you have overtaken him now. I think he’s still sitting at two.” Mia relaxed, slightly relieved but knew she would need to make the gap further. This meant fishing for more kisses, which for Mia required more liquid confidence. “Norah, do you know what time it is?” she asked, eyebrows raised.
“Jäger-time!” they chorused then attempted to walk down the stairs gracefully. It was almost like practicing minor acrobatics: each girl trying to balance whilst wearing four inch heels. Once downstairs, they grabbed a couple of shots each, downed them with a grimace and headed towards the dance floor. Having the height advantage Norah was able to hunt for more boys to kiss amongst the throng of intoxicated students.
Much to their dismay the potential prey had somewhat dwindled or had paired off with other girls from the party. Mia had a glance around for good measure; too drunk, too stoned, as if and eww - I wouldn’t touch him with Norah’s
was her response to the males within close proximity. The situation called for more alcohol if she had to kiss any of them to get out of scrubbing the stove.
The drinks continued to flow and the music and festivities got better. Having such a great time and being able to cut loose away from her home turf was making Mia glad for deciding to go abroad for the year. It was only made better that she had now finally settled into her new classes and had really bonded with her flatmates – despite how messy some of them were. She danced merrily with Norah and wandered around meeting more students.
“Hey you two, come and see this,” Patrice commanded interrupting their dancing. He led them out of the main room into the quieter hallway of the fraternity house. Once there, the girls realised the current predicament.
There, in the alcove between the hall and the kitchen, was Kristopher having his face eaten by a drunken red-head.
“I think he needs to come up for air,” laughed Norah as she watched the girl devour the face off him.
“Wait, that puts him at three now!” Mia realised.
Patrice let out a hearty laugh. “Hope you three will have fun with that stove tomorrow. It’s now 1.35am. You have twenty five minutes left. I think you know what needs to be done.”
The girls gave each other a desperate look before splitting off to hunt more prey.
Jesse made a late appearance to the Kappa Pi party after midnight. His buddy Mark had convinced him to join him and the rest of the soccer team after his shift was over.
Being an RA for the university had its benefits. He was given free accommodation and was getting paid for the full academic year. However, one of the major downfalls was that he had to work most evenings at the weekend. The job didn’t give him too much grief apart from the occasional misconduct of drunken students. He had also lost count of the amount of fire alarms that were set off this year.
His buddies were spread throughout the party aiming to target as many pretty girls as they could. After being on the team for the past two years, he had slowly gotten used to the typecast of the ‘Jock’ label. Even if he didn’t consider himself to be like the rest of them.
Arriving so late mean that he was probably one of the few sober people there. He cringed as he watched his best friend Mark attempt and fail to lure a pretty girl away from her group of friends. “The whole lioness let’s –look-out-for-each-other attitude sucks,” he complained to Jesse. “I swear I could make my move if the gaggle of witches weren’t around.” Jesse laughed unconvinced and finished his beer. It was getting late and he knew that there was no point in trying to catch up with the amount of booze the others had drunk.
He looked at his watch and seeing that it was getting closer to 2am he decided to call it a night. The three hour soccer practice and the boring evening shift had taken its toll. The fresh faces at the party were also disappearing, leaving behind a swarm of drunken revellers.
Saying his goodbyes, Jesse was about the leave when he recognised the Scottish vixen from apartment 4F. He was taken aback by her very different appearance from that afternoon. Gone were the sweat pants and ponytail. She now looked striking with her tight black leggings, sheer black shirt and killer heels. Her choppy almost black hair added to the drama of her look.
Sensing that she was having some sort of predicament due to the anxious look on her pretty he face, he couldn’t help but put himself between her direction of travel. “Hey... Mia, right?” She stood transfixed looking up at Jesse wondering how her luck had brought him to her in her moment of need. “Yeah that’s me,” she answered the most seductive way she could, hoping that her make-up and outfit still looked as good as when she last checked.
Knowing that 2am would soon be approaching, she quickly asked Jesse for the time. “It’s one forty-five. Are you in a rush for something?” he inquired. “Yeah kinda,” she responded. Shit, maybe I should get out of this room before I make an ass of myself,
“Oh, okay I’ll get out of you way then,” he said slightly disappointed. He was hoping that he would get the chance to chat to her properly this time. Maybe I could orchestrate another inspection – I might give her warning this time.
He unblocked her path as he stepped aside.
Jessed watched her for another moment before making an attempt to leave. She seemed to be having an internal debate with herself. She was looking at one hand to the other as if trying to weigh up the pros and cons of a momentous decision. “Mia, are you alright? You look as though you are trying to solve a calculus problem.” Ha!
She thought: a differential equation is simple compared to this.
She heard him speak again. “Anything I can help you with?”
“Fuck it,” was the reply she gave before placing her hands on Jesse’s shoulders and guiding her lips close to his. She closed her eyes and let her lips softly touch against his. Without thinking Jesse cupped her face in his hands and kissed her back. Dear diary – jackpot,
was her only thought as she felt an excited warmth spread through her stomach. Begrudgingly, she pulled away from him, taking a few seconds to come to her senses. OH MY GOD, I bet he now thinks I’m a nutter. Man, this girl is crazy. Thank you Mark for begging me to come tonight,
They both were about to speak when Norah barged through into the kitchen.
“Mia – I’ve had no luck but I do have an idea. If we kissed each other then we would be at four each and then Kris would lose.”
Jesse stood back baffled by Norah’s suggestion. Mia looked quickly to Jesse before turning her attention to Norah. “Em, I’m at four now,” she whispered not wanting Jesse to overhear. Norah looked over at the guy next to Mia; the realisation had now sunk in that Mia got her tally to four with the hunky RA/soccer player.
“Brilliant for you, but I’m still not scrubbing that bloody oven even if Kris will be helping. Just kiss me for God’s sake and we can leave him to clean up by himself.”
“Are you actually asking me to kiss you?”
“Yes. Don’t get your hopes up or anything – I’m not going bi or anything. It’s the quickest solution to my problem.” Norah pointed at Jesse who was still perplexed as to what was going on between the blonde and brunette, “What time is it?” He looked at his watch, “One fifty-five.” And with that Norah held Mia’s face, leaned over and kissed her.
Mia’s eyes were open wide in shock as Norah seemed to be making a show of it. The kitchen fell silent and the exhibition of the two females kissing elicited a few wolf-whistles. Norah released Mia from her clutches. “Time?” she asked Jesse again. “Um, just approaching two o’ clock now.”
“Good,” she replied, pleased with herself. She sauntered away to deliver the bad news to Kristopher. Mia stood there motionless, embarrassed, in front of an audience and a very amused Jesse staring back at her.
“Are you sure you don’t want to come to the after party with us Mia?”
“No, Patrice. I’m going to go back to the apartment.”
She still didn’t feel like calling it home. Home was three thousand miles away, where people knew exactly what she was saying without her having to enunciate. If she was at home Mia would be able to call a taxi and be back in her own bed within forty-five minutes no matter which end of Glasgow she was in. If she was at home she would still be able to call Frankie and tell her how Norah had kissed her in front of Jesse and a bunch of strangers.
But she wasn’t home. So instead of partying into dawn she decided to walk back to the apartment with her thoughts for company.
“You can’t walk back by yourself. I’ll walk with you then I’ll come back.”
“No Patrice, really I’ll be fine.” He looked questioningly at her making sure she really was fine. “Okay, but make sure you stick to the main routes and don’t take any short cuts through campus.” Mia agreed and also agreed to text him once she was back in the apartment.
Pulling on her jacket she walked out of the Kappa-Pi house and right into the back of a familiar athletic male. “Oh sorry... Jesse. Excuse my clumsiness.” She walked around him and balanced slowly down the steps, hoping she wouldn’t stumble in front of him. “Are you walking home?” he asked.
“No, it’s too far and I wouldn’t be able to cross the Atlantic by foot,” she replied deadpan.
“Ha-ha, another Scottish comedian. Mind if I walk with you? We’re heading in the same direction anyway.”
“Why not? It’s a free country apparently.” Jesse joined her at the bottom of the stairs and they began to walk slowly in the direction of the campus apartments. “Wait, hold on a second.” Mia stopped and looked around for a something to lean on, but in the absence of a wall or a fence she held on to Jesse’s bicep.
He looked down at slightly confused, Oh no I hope she’s not going to barf.
He was just about to look away before he saw her take off her shoes. “Can you hold these for a second?” She passed him her black wedge heels and took out a pair of ballet flats from her handbag.
“How practical,” he praised as she put on her flats and took back her heels from him. This girl is prepared for anything.
“It’s always a good idea to carry a pair of emergency flats,” she said as she walked on more comfortably. “C’mon, keep up,” she commanded.
Jesse smiled inwardly as he took a few strides before walking along with the petite brunette. “So did you have a good night?” they both asked at the same time. “Ladies first,” he said letting her speak.
“Yeah, it was fun. It was my first official fraternity party, so there’s one for the memory bank. You?”
“I came along late so I missed most of the free booze. The unexpected twist at the end there made up for it though,” he smirked. Mia brushed the dig off, the fresh air and alcohol combination giving her a new boost of confidence. “Don’t worry; I won’t let you kissing me come between our tenant/RA relationship.”
“But the kiss between you and blondie; that’s one for my memory bank,” he joked. “Do you guys do that often, ‘cause I may have to make a few unannounced visits to 4F if you do?”
“Oh yeah, happens all the time. Patrice and Kris get a thrill watching me and Norah get it on in the living room.” Mia responded sarcastically.
“Great. I’ll come by tomorrow then.” They both laughed; each pleasantly surprised at how comfortable they were with each other. “I’m just kidding by the way,” he added.
“Aww, I was actually hoping you would be coming by tomorrow,” Mia said with mock disappointment in her voice, whilst hoping he actually would pay her another visit. She sneaked a glance at him. I wonder if I walk a bit slower he’d notice that I’m trying to take as long as possible.
“So...” they both started again. “You first this time,” Mia allowed.
“I was just going to ask you how you’re finding it so far away from home. Is Massachusetts what you expected it to be?”
“I was thinking about it tonight actually. It’s great being here. The classes are good and the social aspect of living with other students is fun too. But it’s hard as well. It’s not like I can just go home at the weekends or anything.”
“What do you miss most?”
“My family and friends obviously. But silly stuff too. Like chocolate and Tetley tea and biscuits and Irn Bru - that’s a Scottish soft drink if you were wondering.”
“I was just about to ask. But it’s not like you can’t get chocolate here right?”
“Are you kidding me? The chocolate here is awful. So is the bread actually – why is even the bread sweet here?”
“I dunno, but I haven’t tried British bread before. I suppose it’s kinda the same for me. Apart from the food thing. It’s pretty much the same food back in Canada. Apart from Harvey’s
and Tim Horton’s
“Wait a second - ,” she stopped in her tracks, “you’re Canadian? Holy shit!” Mia covered her mouth trying to hide her shock at her faux pas
“Yeah, I’m from Toronto. I should be offended that you’ve mistaken me for an American for so long. You would have killed me if I kept saying you were English.”
“So if you’re Canadian how come you don’t say ‘a-boat’ or ‘ey’?”
“You and your stereotypes,” he shook his head. “Do you think I should be walking around with a hockey stick too and dress like a Mountie?”
“Ha-ha, I guess not.” Pity though, I think he’d look great in a Mountie’s uniform.
Mia looked up and realised that they were back at the apartments quicker than she anticipated. Her block was only a two minutes away. She wondered if it would be a good idea to invite him in – just for a drink though – an innocent drink. An innocent drink between two acquaintances. There’d be no harm in that surely? And maybe another kiss – certainly wouldn’t be any harm in that either.
They continued to chat about campus and his job until they reached Mia’s door. She fished out her keys from the depths of her handbag taking her time as she did. Once she opened the door she plucked up as much courage as she could and turned to him. “Um, do you fancy coming in...?For a drink?” There was a pregnant pause as she looked down at her feet awaiting a reply.
“I was really hoping you wouldn’t ask that,” he groaned seeming to be fighting some sort of inner turmoil.
“Oh. Ohhh sorry, I just –“
“No, wait I didn’t mean – shit – that came out wrong.” Jesse stepped closer to Mia. He could barely refrain from taking her face in his hands and forcing her to look back at him. He settled for tucking a lock of her hair behind her ear instead. He took the opportunity to explain as she raised her head and looked at his face. “Mia, I would love to come inside with you... But I can’t... I have a girlfriend...”
Mia swallowed the lump in her throat - she was completely crestfallen. “...It’s kind of difficult right now...We’re trying the long distance thing; she’s from Canada too.” Mia nodded resolutely. “It’s fine,” she shrugged trying to appear indifferent. “I understand. No worries – honest.” She paused before saying her final statement.
“Anyways, I should be getting to bed quick; got a tonne of assignments to finish tomorrow. Em, thanks for the company. I’ll maybe see you about.”
All Jesse could do was watch as Mia stepped into her hall and closed the door behind her. Well done you complete tool. Say goodbye to the most amazing girl you’ve ever met...
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with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
<a href="http://www.lushstories.com/stories/novels/mia-chapter-3-the-challenge.aspx">Mia - Chapter 3: The Challenge</a>